The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) released fiscal year 2021 (FY 2021) gross gaming revenue (GGR) numbers totaling USD 39 billion, an increase of 40% over FY 2020 and a +13% compared to FY 2019. Chairman E. Sequoyah Simermeyer and Vice Chair Jeannie Hovland made the announcement live from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Gaming revenue for FY 2021 is the highest in Indian gaming history, with all NIGC administrative regions showing a positive surge from FY 2020. This is Indian gaming’s largest increase, following its greatest decrease brought on by a record level of pandemic-related closures. With the pandemic still at the top of mind for tribes, Indian gaming continues to show its resiliency through innovative operational advancements and the steadfast leadership of tribal regulatory authorities.
In this sense, Chairman Simermeyer commented: “NIGC recognizes this year’s rebound has not been felt equally by all tribes. We are committed to helping all tribal operations benefit from the regulatory lessons learned over the past two years. As we seek to build the regulatory workforce’s preparedness, all parts of the Indian gaming industry have a responsibility to learn from the experiences of tribes who have forged the path so we preserve those lessons and ensure we retain that knowledge for generations to come.” The FY 2021 revenues are calculated from the independently audited financial statements of 510 gaming operations owned by 243 federally recognized tribes. Indian gaming operations are located on Indian land in 29 states.
This USD 39 billion indicator from tribal gaming is added to the USD 53 billion from commercial gaming mentioned by the American Gaming Association (AGA), for total revenue of USD 92 billion in FY 2021 (+13% v FY 2019).
According to Bill Miller, president and CEO, AGA: “Tribal gaming demonstrated its responsible leadership throughout the pandemic and these record results reflect that commitment. The full recovery and ongoing success of tribal casinos goes well beyond the casino floor to support vibrant communities across the country.”
ALSO RECORD IN COMMERCIAL GAMING FOR Q2 2022
Moreover, in Q2 2022, AGA announced that nationwide commercial gaming revenue was USD14.81 billion, a new quarterly record for the industry, beating Q4 2021 by 3.3%. With USD 29.16 billion generated through the first half of the year (a nearly 18% year-over-year expansion) 2022 is on pace to set a new annual record for commercial gaming revenue for the second consecutive year.
The industry’s growth rate softened throughout the second quarter, with the pace of monthly year-over-year gains slowing from 13.1% in April, to 10.7% in May, and 2.5% in June, demonstrating stabilizing consumer demand and the return to normal gaming operations one year ago. Twenty-two of the 31 commercial gaming jurisdictions operating during the same period last year experienced revenue increases in Q2 2022. Nine states reported all-time quarterly highs: Arkansas, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon and Pennsylvania.
Traditional casino gaming continued to drive the industry’s success, with both brick-and-mortar slots and table games seeing quarterly revenue records. While slot machine revenue was up 0.2% year-over-year, revenue from table games jumped 18.2%, indicating the lingering impact that COVID restrictions had on table games in the first half of 2021. In the first six months of the year, traditional casino gaming generated USD 23.67 billion in revenue, 11.7% ahead of the first half of 2021.
The sports betting sector also keeps on scaling. Consumer demand coupled with six new state market launches over the last year put the vertical up 58.7% from Q2 2021. The USD 3.04 billion in sports betting revenue thus far in 2022 is a 63.9% year-over-year rise.
Meanwhile, the six operational U.S. iGaming markets generated USD 1.21 billion in Q2 2022, narrowly beating the vertical’s previous record set in Q1 2022. With the addition of one market, the USD 2.42 billion in commercial iGaming revenue generated through June is a 43.5% jump over the same period in 2021, the vertical’s highest-grossing year.
“Q2’s results mark a 16-month period of gains for commercial gaming. With increasingly difficult year-over-year comparisons, our strength through the first half of 2022 reflects sustained consumer demand for legal options as well as gaming’s record popularity,” said Miller, who also added: “While on pace to set an annual revenue record, we are cognizant of the continued impacts of inflation and labor challenges as well as marketplace concerns of potential recession. Our members have proven their agility and resilience over the last two years, and are well-positioned to face these potential problems heading into the second half.”